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Tackling the disinformation of the Lukashenka regime

Question écrite de Mme Janina OCHOJSKA - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Janina OCHOJSKA,

Diffusée le 23 janvier 2024

Subject: Tackling the disinformation of the Lukashenka regime

The authorities in Belarus are stepping up legal and political pressure to prevent independent journalists and media from reporting on political, economic and social developments in the country. As a result of the ongoing repression, any significant, influential independent news media outlets, professional journalists and other media actors have either ceased to report on sensitive issues or have fled abroad and are now located in EU Member States, mainly Poland and Lithuania.

In September 2023, the European Parliament adopted a resolution1 condemning the repression and systematic human rights violations in Belarus against political activists as well as journalists. Members of the European Parliament expressed their opposition to disinformation and hate speech coming from the main media outlets, which are controlled by Lukashenka and to which Belarusian citizens are exposed.

In light of the above:

1. What action is the Commission taking to combat the propaganda and pervasive disinformation of the Lukashenka regime?

2. Is the Commission taking steps to increase the visibility at EU level of publications by journalists opposed to Lukashenka, so that the Kremlin narrative does not affect EU citizens?

Submitted:24.1.2024

1 https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2023-0258_EN.pdf

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 22 avril 2024

Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Borrell i Fontelles on behalf of the European Commission (23 April 2024)

The Council Conclusions (2) of 19 February 2024, strongly condemned the continuing persecution and intimidation campaigns against all segments of Belarusian society.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has regularly shed light on repressions in Belarus with thematic articles and overviews published on EUvsDisinfo.eu, which has a dedicated Belarus section (3).

The EUvsDisinfo public database has so far exposed almost 1 700 cases (4) of pro-regime and pro-Kremlin disinformation and information manipulation (currently more than 10% of the entire database).

The EEAS and the Commission (5) continue to support independent media, civil society activists and human rights defenders, among others.

The Senior Officials Meeting on Belarus regularly brings EU representatives, Member States and Belarusian civil society together to map the needs of Belarusian people and inform the EU’s assistance, including strong support to independent media.

Moreover, strategic communication is one of the topics in the framework of the EU-Belarus Consultative Group (established in 2023), where representatives of the EEAS, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations and democratic Belarus work closely together.

The Delegation of the EU in Minsk, in cooperation with the Member States embassies and EEAS Strategic Communications Division has run a long-standing campaign aiming to raise awareness of regime persecutions, focusing on selected profiles of political prisoners.

The Commission sees disinformation as a very important threat to democracy and society and takes the fight against disinformation very seriously.

1 ∙ ⸱ https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/A-9-2023-0258_EN.pdf

2 ∙ ⸱ https://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-6737-2024-INIT/en/pdf

3 ∙ ⸱ https://euvsdisinfo.eu/belarus/

4 ∙ ⸱ https://euvsdisinfo.eu/?s=belarus&type=database

5 ∙ ⸱ https://www.praguecivilsociety.org/news-items/free-media-hub-east










| | ) Within the EU, the Digital Services Act (6) and the Code of Practice on Disinformation (7) provide a comprehensive framework and tools to address disinformation and help to protect democratic integrity.

6 ∙ ⸱ https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/digital-services-act-package

7 ∙ ⸱ https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/policies/code-practice-disinformation



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